By Rey Panaligan
Chief Justice Teresita J. Leonardo de Castro has ordered the implementation of salary increases, retroactive to July 1, for judges in the first level courts – municipal trial courts, municipal circuit trial courts, municipal trial courts in cities and Shari’a circuit courts.
The salary increase was the result of the upgrading of the judges’ positions from Grades 26 and 27 to Grade 28.
With the upgrading of positions, the judges’ salaries would be increased from the current P102,000 to P114,000 and to as much as P127,000 per month.
The SC resolution on the increase, which was approved during the September 11 full court session of the justices, states: “The funding requirements for the corresponding salary adjustments shall be sourced from the available savings of the lower courts pending issuance of the Notice of Organization, Staffing and Compensation Action (NOSCA) and release of the corresponding funds by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).”
Earlier, Chief Justice De Castro had approved the recommendation of Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez for the implementation of the salary increases for first level court judges ahead of the issuance of NOSCA and issuance of funds by the DBM.
Marquez’s memorandum stated that “the Office of the Court Administrator, through the Financial Management Office, will use the lower courts’ savings deposited in the Local Bank Account to augment the requirement for the grant of the above mentioned upgrading of positions effective 1 July 2018, pending the issuance of NOSCA and release of corresponding funds by the DBM.”
SC lawyers said the increase in judges’ salaries would go a long way in enhancing the efficiency of courts in the dispensation of justice and would be one of Chief Justice De Castro’s legacy in her brief stint as head of the judiciary.